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Sabre Wulf Package Art

Sabre Wulf

Back before Rare was known as Rareware, they were known as Ultimate. This small development company made a small game known as Sabre Wulf which catapulted their way to success and made the game itself a cult classic. Exactly twenty years and several platform debacles later, THQ has helped Rare to bring the extremely long-awaited follow-up to the Game Boy Advance. After last year’s release of Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge, Sabre Wulf provides another title in a great showing for Rare on the Game Boy Advance. It certainly isn’t one of the best games on the handheld platform, but the gameplay is addictive and the colorful cast of characters holds true to old school Rare titles like Donkey Kong Country.


Rare has created an extremely vibrant world with their latest game and it provides a worthwhile experience for gamers who remember their SNES years. Sabre Wulf uses the same prerendered sprites that made the Donkey Kong Country series so popular on the Super Nintendo as well as the Game Boy Advance. This type of visual design is key for this particular world and lends plenty of unique assets to create its own universe. The charming character design truly brings the game to life and it’s definitely something that the developers are known for. If it weren’t for the excellent care shown in each character, the world would be practically lifeless. Each environment looks great and the “overworld” in each area looks nicely detailed. There are a few aspects that make the game look fairly unfinished and muddy, but it’s easily overlooked if you’re going through the game quickly.


As in many Rare titles, the sound design has its ups and downs. The music is spectacular, the sound effects are superb, but the voice samples are verging on the side of lameness. For a Game Boy Advance title, this game has its fair share of voice blurbs, but that’s really all they are. This type of unintelligible blabber, as found in other Rare titles like Grabbed by the Ghoulies, is wasted space and should be put to much better use. However, when Sabreman does decide to speak, he speaks in one to three word fragmented sentences. His cockney accent can be slightly annoying, but it fits his character well.


In each area, the lead character Sabreman starts off in a sort of overworld throughout each available area. He must proceed through the different caves that pop up after completing the first. It starts off feeling fairly story-based as you begin in a small villa, walking around talking with everyone, but afterwards the story thins out and it’s just you versus the bad guy. Each area has roughly seven caves that Sabreman must traverse in order to obtain the treasure within. The caves branch off into a side-scrolling level where Sabreman treks from the beginning to end and then back again. To help him, he has but one ability which is the ability to jump. Otherwise, he can collect items strewn about each area or purchase them from the shop. Most of these helpful items are actual creatures that help our hero reach his objective. Some help him jump higher while others simply clear obstacles. Other than that, Sabreman is pretty much useless when it comes to combat, but at least he can pick up a green vest that protects him from one hit. Once he reaches the end of the level, he’ll pick up the treasure and run away from Sabre Wulf all the way back to the beginning. The path is cleared once the mighty “wulf” lets out a devastating howl, so all is safe. This simple set of play mechanics makes for a very fun and strangely addictive mix of adventure and puzzle solving. It’s not as great as Mario Vs Donkey Kong, another puzzle/adventure game, but it’s hard to top that level of greatness.




Sabre Wulf is a fun game that offers a lot of bang for its buck. Starting retail is twenty clams, so it’s definitely worth picking up. It isn’t the best looking game nor is it the best playing, but it certainly has its moments and is worth random sessions of playtime on the road or for a slight diversion. Rare’s best works have been 2D side-scrollers and their work here is no exception. Hopefully we can look forward to a lot more from them soon.

final score 8.5/10

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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